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For Travel: GH2 or E-PL5

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by caimi, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    I'm looking for some opinions. In my never ending search for the perfect travel camera, I can't decide whether or not to stick with my Panasonic GH2 - which I love - or spring for the new Olympus E-PL5. In terms of size, a major consideration, the E-PL5 wins, hands down. But I never liked the idea of no viewfinder on the Pens and and I think the removable VF-2 or 3 sits atop the thing like a large wart. Also, I'm not sure I'm going to see better IQ from the Olympus than I get from the GH2. Or even better high ISO images for that matter. Any opinions to help me make the decision?
     
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Who cares if the viewfinder sits like a wart on top of the camera? Is your camera a tool for taking photographs, or an accessory for a fashion show? From a practical standpoint, the VF-2 works very well. It produces a large, clear view, and the variable angle can come in very useful. It can be detached and tucked away into any pocket or corner of your bag, so it hardly limits your ability to pack small and tight with the tiny E-PL5 body.

    As for IQ and high ISO, I don't see why you wouldn't think that you'll get "better" from the E-PL5? The GH2 is very good, so in a broad sense maybe you won't notice the difference, depending on how picky you are... but any way you look at it you're still going forwards and not backwards. Only you can say if the difference is worth budgeting for though. I would think the small body while traveling would be the much better concern.

    So the real question is... do you really want a smaller body, and are you willing to pay for that downsize? The E-PL5 + VF-2 will definitely perform where you need it to, as long as you're willing to make that investment.
     
  3. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Jim
    Depends upon what you're ultimately after, I suppose.

    If you're after size -

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 is 12% (13.5 mm) wider and 41% (25.9 mm) taller than Olympus PEN E-PL5.
    Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 is 98% (37.6 mm) thicker than Olympus PEN E-PL5.
    Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 [444 g] weights 37% (119 grams) more than Olympus PEN E-PL5 [325 g] (*inc. batteries and memory card).

    *Source: Compare camera dimensions side by side

    And, yes, the VF-2 does create a bit of a hump when mounted on the Olympus camera. However even with the "wart" attached you will still have a smaller package than is the GH2.

    Another option would be to opt for the Olympus OM-D:

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 is 2% (3 mm) wider and both of the same height.
    Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 is 81% (33.9 mm) thicker than Olympus OM-D E-M5.
    Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 [444 g] weights 11% (44 grams) more than Olympus OM-D E-M5 [400 g] (*inc. batteries and memory card).

    *Source: Compare camera dimensions side by side

    However I don't find the OM-D to be particularly "pocketable", and it's a bit pricey.

    As far as IQ goes, I've never used the GH2 - but all of the :43: bodies are getting pretty good these days and of course a lot depends upon the glass being used.

    If it were me unless there was an overriding feature of the GH2 that I could not bear, or unless the GH2 was simply too large to take on more more outing I would stay with the GH2. (Note that I say this as an Olympus camera owner/fan).

    You know the GH2, are familiar with the controls and menus and quirks and are satisfied with the images you get out of the machine; is size so very important?

    If you don't like the "wart" VF-2 now, I would imagine that you'll absolutely abhor it if you actually buy one and have to use it. (I have one on my E-PL1 and it's never off of the camera. I don't care so much how the camera looks as I do how the image looks that I can make with the camera). Of course I'm known for having little taste in style :wink:; I have no problem with the hump on my OM-D, either.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Regards,

    Jim
     
  4. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    Fashion Show

    Ned,

    It is the fashion statement that I am after. The VF-2 fails miserably in that department.
     
  5. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Jim
    :rofl:

    My wife says the same thing about me....
     
  6. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    836
    Feb 29, 2012
    I bring both my GF3 and GH2 or DSLR on most trips. The GF3 is so small that it's really nothing, truly just a deck of cards. There's plenty of m43 models in that size range. With the new 15mm from Oly, it could very well fit inside a shirt pocket.
     
  7. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    Agreed that the GF3 is incredibly compact. But no viewfinder = no go.
     
  8. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    836
    Feb 29, 2012
    I hear ya. I'm seriously hoping the GX2 will have an EVF like the NEX 6 or X-E1. Maybe Oly will jump in first, either way, m43 is long overdue for such a camera.
     
  9. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I don't do fashion statements. (Ask my wife)

    But I did go work through a similar question when deciding what to buy as a second body to my Panny G1. I started with a GF2, which is the smallest of the reasonably capable GFs. I sold it because of the lack of external controls and the fact that my nose kept operating the touch screen. The GF1 was ok, though lacking an articulated LCD. What I found with both, though, was that the "wart" really made the camera much larger than just looking at it will tell you. Handling, pocketing, putting in a bag, whatever .. it was the same as if the whole camera was the height of the wart. So, really no size benefit unless you are willing to live without an eye-leve-finder which I also am not.

    So, I sold the GF1 and bought a second G1. The ergonomics of this camera (the grip, external controls, etc.) are better than any subsequent "Gx" IMHO. I give up low light sensitivity but I also save a lot of money. Probably I will eventually upgrade to a pair of OM-Ds but for now I am a happy guy with my smooth wartless bodies.

    For small size and pocketability I bought a Canon G12. Nice rig. Eye-level finder, RAW + JPG storage, lots of cute tricks built in. The GF2 and a G12 would make a nice travel pair. I'm off to the Middle East right after Christmas and may take it in addition to the two G1s. I haven't decided yet.
     
  10. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    It is funny that both Panasonic and Olympus has avoided a "rangefinder" styled body with a built-in EVF. Despite reading many wishes for such a beast over the last few years, all we have are the mini-SLR bodies. I wonder what formula they are using that is telling them this is a bad idea from a business perspective, because in the end this is what drives their products.
     
  11. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    836
    Feb 29, 2012
    Whatever that formula is, they need to burn it. The old Panny L1 still goes for above retail price even tho is over 5 yrs old, the demand for the Fuji X series is also a clear indication.
     
  12. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    702
    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I got tired of waiting for an L1 for m43 and settled on the OM-D although it is not as beautiful as the L1.

    I then opted to get an X-E1 for that matter - how vain :eek:
     
  13. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    594
    Oct 18, 2011
    Pretty much this.

    Cameras are tools. They're like wrenches.

    Most people never learn to use those tools.
     
  14. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    I am in the camp that thinks OLY and Panny need to bring a small rangefinder to the market. My travel camera may become the XE-1 next year. I thought OLY learned the VF lesson awhile ago when it rapidly introduced the EP2 (practically on the heels of the EP1) which could be fitted with an optional viewfinder. I want a camera that's a camera and a phone that's a phone.
     
  15. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Jim
    Yep.

    The problem is that I have a Stanley tool budget and Snap-On tool tastes.

    :biggrin:

    Regards,

    Jim
     
  16. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    836
    Feb 29, 2012
    Appreciation of beauty should be obvious to photographers, that includes our tools.

    I want my camera to appeal to my eyes also, as well as be functional. There's a difference between vanity and good taste, I prefer to think that we have good taste.
     
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  17. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    EPL5

    So I bit the bullet and bought the EPL5 yesterday. Traded my GH2. The EPL 5 feels like a solid little, well-made brick in the hand. And it has that wonderful SONY sensor. I think I am going to like it as my travel camera. I'll miss the GH2 extra controls and the fully articultaing screen and the built-in VF. But I think I will like the EPL5 as much. Taking it to Ireland next week.
     
  18. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Even the reviews are pleasantly surprised with the E-PL5. I look forward to the pictures from you trip.